It seem like an easy question to answer; "Who are you?" But the fact is most people will hesitate, and find it far more difficult than first assumed. And another fact is, if you don't know who you are, how will the world know?
Today a good service, an unique product or a cool business is only interesting if the people selling it are interesting and make a good impression. Branding on a business-level is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. After all, you might work for a business that works with other businesses, but it is people working with people and that is what makes business relationships valuable.
To be more precise: A personal brand is the feeling and impression you leave in people aware of you, that separates you from other persons. And you should be in control of it!
Not everything in this guide will apply to you!
There is a lot of information covering many different steps you can take to build your personal brand. However, not everything in this guide needs to be followed to reach your goals and not everything in the guide applies to everyone so if you notice something that doesn’t fit your vision or your goals it is okay. You can take the information here as a guide, but use the information in your own way. Follow steps exactly or use certain information and create your own steps for finding success.
1. Take your mask off!
Imagine how hard it would be to build a brand around the person you would like to be indstead of the person you are? You would have to act a certain way, appear a certain way, and say certain things, regardless of how you felt about it. Some professionals suggest going about building a personal brand by shaping and molding what others see, but this is exhausting to maintain in the long run. And (to me) it is exactly the same as living by the silly philosophy: "fake it till you make it!".
Your brand have to be a reflection of who you are, your skills and talents. And on top of that a transparent identity showing what you stand for and more important, what you don't stand for!
Never forget, people connect with people they trust. If you don't appear to be a real person, or if it just looks like you're faking it, how likely do you think others are to trust you? Even if they do buy into your fake persona for a while, the slightest bit of inconsistency could prove problematic.
Building a personal brand is first and foremost developing an understanding of your true self, defining it and then sharing that with the world. Take your masks off and don't be afraid of being vulnerable.
2. Speaking engagements
You should be speaking on a regular basis. Naturally, this will mean developing your communication skills. If you speak in exactly the same manner others do, you will never stand out from the crowd. Speak from a place of knowledge and power. Share your knowledge, and answer questions in a way that serves your audience, but in your own words.
Show that you are confident. Some may criticize or disagree with you. The important thing is to remain open to feedback. Thank others for sharing their views, and if the points they raised were legitimate, determine how you can improve and do better next time.
Speaking engagements are opportunities to be seen and heard. Start small, and keep building. You may not land high-quality speaking engagements off the bat, but if you keep swinging, you will build your following and get invited to speak at bigger, more notable events and conferences. And offering your service as a guest speaker can be your first step in the way to your your success. Buckle down and offer the greatest amount of value you possibly can everywhere you go.
3. Write articles and participate in interviews
Articles and interviews establish your credibility. As with speaking engagements, landing the best opportunities takes time and effort, but if you remain open to what comes your way, pretty soon you will be showing up everywhere. And here I would like to add a personal comment to all women: Statistics say that women, no matter how qualified, are far more likely than men to turn down media interviews. When journalists call seeking their expertise, they often defer to others more qualified than them selves... DON'T! I can't repeat this enough; If there is an interest for your knowledge and person, please share both as much as you can. This shows that others see you as an authority.
Getting an "in" with the media, online publishers and publications can prove challenging. However, it is a powerful way to show that you know what you are talking about. Every outlet you build a connection with increases your brand authority.
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4. Build your online presence
You need to know how you are appearing and coming across online. This is something you have to monitor on an ongoing basis, and improve upon whenever and wherever possible.
Do you have social media profiles? If no, you should serious consider one. We all have an online profile presence somewhere and somehow, but it is up to you to be in control of it. Remember to make sure your profiles are fully fleshed out with all of your professional information. Your social media profiles must present you in the best light possible, and make you look professional, and remember to use high-quality professional photography. Also be aware that you in social media have to be social, interacting with others by commenting and sharing their content.
A website is important for your personal brand. One of the best ways to rank in search for your name is to build a website. This gives you considerably more control over your online presence than social media. It can't hurt to add new content to your site on a regular basis, either. Try to buy your own name if you can.
Don't forget to Google yourself regularly (also by searching images) to see how you're coming across, how others might be perceiving you, and what they're saying about you. You will have a tough time building a great personal brand without making a real effort to monitor and tweak it.
5. Remain a student of your industry
I don't doubt that you know your industry or area of expertise very well, but it would be wise to remember that things are changing at a faster rate than ever before, and you have to stay up-to-date with the latest changes and trends.
To build a strong personal brand is time consuming, and is an ongoing proces. If you fail to stay relevant, your effort will be wasted. If you don't want to be discredited, then you will want to keep a steady supply of articles, trade journals, blogs, and books on hand.
It also pays to learn new things, develop new skills, and to expand your knowledge. If you're not growing, then you're stagnating, and that's the last thing you want to do in business. I am sure you already know how important it is to stay on top of your game, but a friendly reminder never hurt anyone.
As you begin to sharpen your personal brand, the right opportunities will start coming your way. People will begin to see that you are now what you are taking about, and they wil invite you to be a part of their stories or news pieces.
However, don't forget how important it is for you to have accomplished something yourself. You can't talk about what you haven't done, because that will take away from your personal brand. Be open about your shortcomings and weaknesses. This will make you all the more human, trustworthy and relatable.